No Plans for Another Lockdown in Delhi, Says Manish Sisodia as Covid-19 Cases Continue to Rise

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Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday quashed speculation of another lockdown in the national capital grappling with rising coronavirus cases in wake of the festive season and spike in air pollution. His statement came after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government sent a proposal in this regard to the Centre, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal mulling shutting down markets that have a "potential of becoming hotspots".

"There are no plans for another lockdown or mini lockdowns in Delhi," Sisodia told CNBC-TV18 in an interview. "Festivals caused crowding at markets in Delhi, we expect it to go down as the festive season winds down."

"The Delhi government has only asked for an exemption from Home Ministry rules to reduce crowding," Sisodia said on the proposal sent to the Centre. "We will look to curb crowds at markets subject to tests, positivity rates. We will also speak to market associations on measures to reduce crowding."

"Lockdowns do not help find a solution to COVID-19. Its solution lies with the medical field, not in lockdowns," he said, adding the government is only looking for ways to see how to curb crowding in markets.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain earlier on Tuesday said the peak of the third wave of coronavius in the national capital is over and that with the end of the festival season and significant reduction in pollution, the situation is likely to improve.

Jain had earlier denied rumours of another lockdown in the city-state.

Delhi on Monday recorded 3,797 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the infection tally in the national capital to over 4.89 lakh, even as 99 new fatalities pushed the toll to 7,713, authorities said. The highest single-day spike of 8,593 cases till date here was recorded on November 11 when 85 fatalities were recorded. Ninety-nine fatalities were recorded, pushing the toll in the national capital to 7,713.

The sudden spike in cases comes amid festive season and rising pollution level. While Durga Puja celebrations ended on October 25, Diwali fell on Saturday and Chhath is on November 20-21. The National Centre for Disease Control in a report drafted recently had warned that Delhi needs to be prepared for about 15,000 fresh cases of Covid-19 per day taking into account the upcoming winter season-related respiratory problems, large influx of patients from outside and festive gatherings.